New laws that help consumers manage debt

This is a guest post by Bruce McClary. Bruce is a  Financial Educator and the Media Relations Director at ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. This post was originally published on ClearPoint’s blog

It’s a good time to look back at the events that changed the world of consumer credit in 2010. After all, some would say that 2010 was a historic year for change in the credit industry.

  • The CARD Act – Otherwise known as the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, this legislation was implemented in February. Consumers now benefit from: clear disclosures of fees on their monthly statements, interest rates applied to multiple balances to aid progress toward payoff; term changes come with a 45-day advance notice; new rules govern the use of prepaid cards, and limited creditor access to consumers under the age of 21. More on the CARD Act.
  • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Law – The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be responsible for keeping an eye on how banks and consumer finance companies comply with existing regulations for fairness and disclosure. It will also maintain a toll-free hotline for consumers to report deceptive practices. While the agency did not begin operation in 2010, the legislation paved the way.
  • FTC Debt Settlement Rules – Countless hearings, testimony from fraud victims, and scammers caught in the act by congressional investigators led to a significant crackdown on the for-profit debt relief industry. Included in the new rules are strict guidelines for fair disclosure in advertising, required compliance with existing telemarketing rules, and prohibition of advance fees.

ClearPoint encourages consumers to stay informed in order to make wise financial decisions. Resolve to learn more about personal financial management in the new year, and you will be sure to like the results.

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